Meet the Noble & Nimble Scottish Deerhound

These gentle giants will steal your heart and you'll understand why Scottish deerhounds made the journey from highland royalty to home and hearth.

Updated December 31, 2023

In ancient times, the Scottish deerhound was highly valued and considered a prestigious breed. As such, ownership of these noble dogs was often restricted to the wealthy and elite.

The Scottish deerhound's prowess in hunting combined with their elegant appearance made them a highly desired companion among nobility and royals, who saw them as a symbol of their social standing.

Fast Fact

The breed almost went extinct because of this limitation.

Meet the Royal Dog of Scotland

The Scottish deerhound is the loyal, royal dog of Scotland. Their popularity grew a lot thanks to Queen Victoria, who really loved these dogs. Her fondness for the Scottish Deerhound helped make the breed well-known not only in Scotland but also in other parts of the British Isles and beyond.

Scottish Deerhound By Any Other Name...

The Scottish deerhound is thought to have been around before the 16th century, but they weren't always known by their current name. Throughout their history, they have been called several different names, including the Irish wolf dog, Scotch greyhound, rough greyhound, and Highland deerhound.

These various names show off the breed's evolving role and the locations they were popular in. Each name gives a hint about their unique traits and characteristics.

The name "Scottish deerhound" was eventually chosen because it perfectly describes the breed's exceptional talent in deer hunting. 

The Big Takedown

If you're like me, you're probably thinking that it's pretty cool that they used to chase deer while picturing a brown, white-tailed deer. But nope, these deer were massive. They were bred to hunt red deer, which average about 400 pounds. That's quite the takedown!

Quick Tip

Give your deerhound enough room to sprint within a fenced-in area. 

Scottish Deerhounds are Chasers

Deerhounds love to chase due to their hunting nature, and they might chase other pets in your home like your cats or smaller dogs. This strong urge to chase might seriously stress out your other pets. To avoid problems and keep everyone getting along, it's important to control this chasing habit.

Teaching your deerhound from a young age and getting them used to being around other pets can help a ton. Also, keeping them busy with plenty of exercise and interesting brain-busting activities can stop them from chasing too much. 

And Giant Teddy Bears With Boundless Energy

Similar to other large dog breeds, the deerhound is known for being a giant, loving teddy bear. This breed, with their friendly personality, can become an excellent family dog when provided with enough exercise.

Regular physical activity is crucial for the deerhound. It not only helps maintain their physical health but also manages their high energy levels and piques their mental skills. 

Need to Know

This breed requires a minimum of two hours of physical exercise daily. 

Scottish Deerhound Puppies of Mass Destruction

You probably already know that puppies love getting into mischief. But deerhound pups take it to a new level. Since they were bred to chase deer, they have a love for running, and they're good at it.

If your puppy (or adult) deerhound doesn't get enough exercise, they will resort to wreaking havoc (like chewing up your favorite shoes) or be miserable in a crate.

They're Big Dogs With Big Emotions

Scottish deerhounds are very sensitive and emotional dogs. They like things to stay the same and can get upset by stress or changes in their daily lives. These dogs do best with a regular routine for things like eating, exercising, and playing. If you need to change their routine, it's best to do it slowly and gently, so they can get used to it without getting too worked up. 

Who Depend on You and Bond Deeply

Scottish deerhounds are highly social creatures who cherish companionship and tend to develop separation anxiety when left alone for long periods of time. They form strong bonds with their humans, so if your home is often empty, this dog is probably not the best one for you. 

Quick Tip

Scottish deerhounds flourish in a family setting where interaction and social engagement are high. 

More Likely to Lick Than Bark

One of the benefits of a Scottish deerhound—they don't bark. One of the drawbacks of a Scottish deerhound—they don't bark. I know—it's a bit silly. But for real, this is both a good thing and a bad thing.

If an intruder breaks in, your scottie probably won't sound an alert call. But at the same time, their lack of barking can be helpful if you live in a tight-knit neighborhood or an apartment building. 

With a Strong Desire to Please

Scottish deerhounds are known for their desire to please their owners, which generally makes them quite trainable. They respond well to positive reinforcement (never punishment) and are eager to follow commands to make their pet parent happy.

It's important to note, though, that this breed does also have their stubborn moments. Patience and consistency are key to training this breed, just as with others. Getting to know your individual deerhound can help you train them better and adjust your training methods as needed.

Quick Tip

Check out our article about why positive reinforcement and discipline work and punishment doesn't to make training your pup simpler.

Scottish Deerhounds Love Cold Weather

For those living in northern regions, the Scottish deerhound could be an excellent breed choice. Their dense, thick coat is naturally designed to handle colder climates, offering them protection and comfort in lower temperatures (although they still shouldn't be left outside too long).

This breed tends to thrive in cooler weather, a trait that is deeply rooted in their Scottish origins. In these environments, their love for outdoor activities and their energetic personalities can be fully expressed, as they are more comfortable and lively when the temperature drops. 

And Are Among the Tallest Dog Breeds

Scottish deerhounds are notably tall, ranking among the tallest of dog breeds. Male deerhounds typically stand at an impressive height of 30 to 32 inches measured at the shoulder, with females being a bit shorter but still quite tall. 

In terms of weight, male Scottish deerhounds usually fall in the range of 85 to 110 pounds, displaying a robust and well-proportioned build. Females, while still appearing pretty big, tend to be somewhat lighter than their male counterparts.

They Have a Rough and Wiry Coat

Scottish deerhounds are equipped with a coarse, wiry coat that is perfectly suited to the chilly and rugged climate of Scotland. To keep their coat healthy and looking good, they need regular grooming.

The wiry texture can easily become tangled and matted if not properly cared for. Routine grooming sessions should include thorough brushing to keep the coat clean, remove any dead or loose hair, and prevent tangles from forming. 

And Come in a Variety of Colors

The Scottish deerhound can be found in a diverse range of coat colors, offering a spectrum of beautiful shades. These colors include brindle, fawn, red fawn, blue, grey, and yellow. The brindle pattern, featuring a mix of colors in a striped pattern, adds another level of diversity to their appearance.

Need to Know

Most of the Scottish deerhounds you'll find are grey, but you may come across one of the other colors on occasion. 

Rescue One and They'll Be Grateful Forever

When you rescue a Scottish deerhound, not only do you give a dog their forever home, but you may also have a decent understanding of their personality, preferences, and overall demeanor. By adopting one as an adult, you can quickly see what to expect from the dog.

Organizations like The Scottish Deerhound Club of America help place Scottish deerhounds in their forever homes. And there are quite a few organizations, in addition to this one, where you can look for them. 

Quick Tip

Before deep diving into specific rescues, check to see if there are any on PetFinder or Adopt-a-Pet.

Are You Prepared for a Scottish Deerhound?

For those who can meet these needs, the Scottish deerhound can be a deeply rewarding companion. They bring a special mix of beauty, faithfulness, and kind friendship to a home. They're good at forming close bonds with their owners and are easygoing, making them a loved part of any family that can take care of their body and heart.

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Meet the Noble & Nimble Scottish Deerhound